05/21/15 4:57pm

Restaurant space for lease in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
According to planning documents filed TODAY with the City, a Burgerfi franchise will open a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, in the former Ireland’s Own space. Something we told you was coming two (2) weeks ago.

The Florida-based burger chain boasts a “better burger concept” that focuses on all-natural, free-range beef without steroids, antibiotics, chemicals or additives. Burgerfi also sells fresh-cut fries, onion rings, Kobe beef hot dogs, quinoa veggie burgers, craft beer and wine in its environmentally friendly restaurants.

The administrative application (PDF) says that the franchise will be open from 9:00 AM to 2:00 AM daily and plans on seating for 200.

If you have any comments regarding this request, please contact Planning and Zoning staff at 703 746-4666 or email Ann Horowitz directly. The deadline for comments is Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

For more information about Burgerfi, click this link.

05/21/15 4:03pm

Don BeyerCongressman Don Beyer joined Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen today to introduce the State and Local Predatory Towing Enforcement Act to crack down on predatory towing practices that leave consumers with costly bills and no recourse for overcharges and unfair treatment.

“Unfair and predatory towing practices take money out of our constituents’ wallets and strain their budgets,” said Rep. Beyer.  “I am proud to join Rep. Van Hollen to provide our state and local governments with the authority they need to properly regulate this industry with common sense, consumer friendly towing protections.”

“Victims of predatory towing face real economic hardship that has a negative impact on their families and communities. For too long, victims have not had a mechanism to stand up for their rights as consumers,” said Rep. Van Hollen. “This legislation will protect consumers by closing the loophole that allows predatory towing practices to go unpunished.”

“We thank Representative Beyer and Representative Van Hollen for their attention to this issue important to residents and visitors of Arlington County,” stated Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette.  “While the United States Supreme Court has affirmed state and local regulation of non-consent towing services, enactment of this bill would further ensure final and clear authority to Arlington County and other local governments as we work to balance the needs and rights of private property owners and consumers – in this case  vehicle owners.”

“Predatory towing is generally the largest single category of complaints we receive every month,” said Eric Friedman, Director of the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection. “We applaud Congressman Van Hollen and Congressman Beyer for introducing legislation to remedy any federal preemption loophole and to ensure that states and localities have the ability to limit overly aggressive towing practices.”

Federal law currently limits state and local regulation of the towing industry, and the federal regulatory body that oversaw the industry was eliminated in 1995. With confusing restrictions and conflicting court rulings, no level of government has been able to adequately regulate the towing industry, leading to major consumer abuses by some unscrupulous towing companies. The State and Local Predatory Towing Enforcement Act would restore state and local governments’ ability to end predatory practices in the tow truck industry.

05/21/15 3:34pm
Photo by Karen Elliott Greisdorf

Photo by Karen Elliott Greisdorf

Meet the Candidates is a new series on Red Brick Town that will feature a profile of candidates running for office this year (2015) in Alexandria, Virginia including candidates for Mayor. We have sent these questions, mostly asked by our readers, out to all of the Mayoral candidates. Here are Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg’s responses.

Where do you live in Alexandria?

I have lived in Alexandria since 1989, and I have lived in Parkfairfax since 1992.

What were your first impressions of Parkfairfax when you moved in?

I fell in love with Parkfairfax the minute I saw it. The architecture of the community, the remarkable open space, the landscaping and gardens, and the warm people make it all a special place for me. I thoroughly enjoy tending to my small flower garden, and I am very close to my neighbors. We have a wonderful sense of community. I am blessed to live here.

Tell me something about yourself that people may not know, like a hobby or something you like to do.

Before I moved to Alexandria in 1989, I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I love football, and when I was five or six years old, some close friends of my parents hosted a Christmas Day luncheon at their home, and they seated me next to Calvin Hill, the Dallas Cowboy star player, because they knew I was in awe of him. I remember to this day how I was speechless and tried not to stare at him. He said that he heard that I like football, and I nodded and smiled up at him. He was unbelievably kind, and he said he heard that I had brought a football with me that day, and he suggested we could have a throw. I looked up at him, beaming. With my father and our close friends watching from the front porch of their home, Mr. Hill and I threw my football for a bit on the wide front lawn, and then he called me over, as if we were going to be in a huddle. And he taught me how the pros throw a football. Soon, I had a spiral like his. Later, he signed the ball for me. To this day, I have a good throwing arm. And to this day, I have the football.

Name your three favorite things about Alexandria…

  • All the historic sites and historic preservation work.
  • The special events that make our city and its neighborhoods so vibrant and show the diversity of our community: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Scottish Walk, the Del Ray Halloween Parade, and Del Ray’s Arts on the Avenue.
  • Walking along the waterfront.

Name three things you wish Alexandria had (but which it currently does not)…

  • More affordable/workforce housing.
  • More pedestrian safety infrastructure, particularly on the West End.
  • A small bandstand shell in Oronoco Bay Park for the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

What are the 2 most important unsolved challenges facing Alexandria that you as Mayor you will focus on in your first 2 years in office?

  • We need to have a serious discussion about how we will reduce our debt. We must make tough choices and allocate resources to capital needs that are mission critical.
  • At the same time, we must address needed improvements in our basic infrastructure, particularly upgrading our combined sewer overflow system as well as our stormwater and other infrastructure challenges, including our school capacity issues, all of which have been delayed for too long.

Alexandria’s tax base goal is a 50-50 split between residents and businesses yet the tax base split currently stands uneven at something like 70-30 residents to business. How can Alexandria attract more business to reach that goal?

We must grow the commercial tax base and do so in a balanced way. We must pursue smart growth around our metro stops and proactively recruit entities and entrepreneurs to locate in Alexandria, as we did with the National Science Foundation. Innovation, medical research, technology, and science are keys to our city’s future. And finally, businesses are suffering with the new parking meter hours in Carlyle and Old Town. Extending the meter hours to 9 pm was very anti-business, and I stated that when I was the lone dissenting vote against this expansion. We must roll back the parking meter hours to 7 pm.

For more information about Ms. Silberberg’s campaign, visit this link.

05/21/15 3:16pm
Soldiers Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia

Image via Library of Congress

Via The Library of Congress, and in honor of Memorial Day, which is this coming Monday, here’s a look back on this Throwback Thursday at the Soldiers’ Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia when it first opened. The cemetery is run by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affair’s and opened in 1862.

It’s changed quite a bit in the 150+ years of operation wouldn’t you say?

05/21/15 2:38pm

Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria Virginia
The newest publication in the Arcadia, Images of America Series features the 20th Century history of historic Gadsby’s Tavern (Gadsby’s Tavern (Images of America)). Written by Gretchen Bulova, Gadsby’s Tavern’s museum director since 1996, this book uses photographs from the collections of the museum, Alexandria Library Special Collections Branch, and private individuals to unfold the story of Alexandria’s community spirit that preserved the famous Gadsby’s Tavern for generations to come.

Ms. Bulova will be signing her book at the Alexandria Visitor Center, located at 221 King Street in Old Town Alexandria this Saturday, May 23rd from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM. Copies are $21.99 each and also available at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, The Lyceum, and the new Historic Alexandria Museum Store at the Old Town Hilton.

(Red Brick Town Flickr Pool photo by Larry, on Flickr)

05/21/15 2:14pm

Geodesic Dome Fountain and Madison Building

Become a Red Brick Town Contributor by Taking Photos!

Here is our favorite new photo from the Red Brick Town Flickr Pool, depicting the best of Alexandria, Virginia.

Check out this photo of the campus of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia. What do you think? I think it looks pretty cool.

You can see other Flickr pool submissions we have posted about at this link.

Do you have a picture that depicts Alexandria, Virginia area? A GREAT way to contribute to our website is to share your photos in our Flickr pool by submitting your own!

(Red Brick Town Flickr Pool photo by Ruben Picon, on Flickr)

05/21/15 1:27pm

Strong Economy And Low Gas Prices Drive 4.5 Percent Increase In Holiday Travel Over 2014

AAA-logo1It is a decade in the making. Greater desire to take time off, higher pent up demand to travel, more discretionary income to spend on vacations, and deeper discounts on gas than this time last year will compel 921,400 Washington area residents to venture 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, AAA Travel is projecting. That comprises a 4.5 percent increase from the 882,100 area residents who traveled at this time last year for the first holiday weekend of summer. It’s the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years, says AAA Travel.

Kicking off the summer driving season, 827,000 travelers will be driving to their destinations.